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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Grazing Annual Grasslands

Authors
item Young, James
item Clements, Darin

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 20, 2006
Publication Date: April 6, 2006
Citation: Young, J.A., Clements, C.D. 2006. Grazing to control annual grasslands [abstract]. Arizona, Nevada, Utah Livestock Workshop. April-4-6, 2006, St. George, Utah. p.1-8

Technical Abstract: In the Intermountain-Colorado Plateau area, we commonly think of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) as being the dominant exotic, highly invasive annual grass on rangelands in the temperate deserts and the similar species red brome (Bromus rubens L.) on rangelands of the warm deserts. There is no clear separation in the geographical distribution of these two species. Red brome extends as isolated, apparently stable populations in big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.)/bunchgrass potential sites as far north as Washington state and cheatgrass extends on specific sites far south into what are considered warm desert environments. The Weed Science Society of America common name for cheatgrass is downy brome because the plants are covered with soft hairs or pubescence. In contrast, the herbage of red brome is glabrous or without hairs. In the field, especially in southern Utah and the Arizona Strip you can find otherwise typical cheatgrass plants with few to no hairs and typical red brome plants with a range of downy hairs. Some scientists suggest this is evidence of hybridization between the species. Typical cheatgrass plants have lax seedheads that bend down or nods. The Canadians call cheatgrass nodding brome. The seedhead of red brome is compact, stands straight up and often is a deep red color. In everyday usage we talk about cheatgrass or red brome ranges, but increasingly we have other annual exotic grasses mixed in these communities. In the cold deserts, we occasionally have several other species of exotic annual brome grasses and increasingly we have medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae [L.] Nevski). Medusahead invasion and dominance brings a major change in grazing potential to rangeland communities. Recently, annual wheatgrass (Eremopyrum triticeum [Gaertn.) Nevski) has greatly increased in the interface between salt desert and sagebrush life zones. In the warm deserts two species of Shismus can be found in most red brome communities.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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